Can You Use iPhone X, XS, XR Without Face ID? Yes! Face ID Questions, Answered

Nov 10, 2017 - 16 Comments

Use iPhone X without Face ID

There are a lot of questions out there about using iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR and the new Face ID feature, which scans your face to unlock your iPhone X. Some people want to know if they can use iPhone X without Face ID, and without the iPhone X ever using facial recognition for unlocking the iPhone and performing other verification tasks, like paying with Apple Pay or authenticating other logins. Or perhaps you’re wondering what you do instead if you choose not to setup Face ID.

If you don’t like the idea of Face ID or having your iPhone scanning your face for whatever reason, then you’ll be relieved to know the answer is yes, you an absolutely use the iPhone X without ever using Face ID, it is not required. You can absolutely use iPhone X without ever registering or scanning your face for any facial recognition purpose.

We’ll aim to answer a few common questions about Face ID and iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR, if you have additional questions feel free to ask them in the comments below.

Do I have to use Face ID on iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR? Is Face ID required to use iPhone X?

No. If you do not want to use iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR with facial recognition then you can easily use iPhone X without ever registering a face with Face ID. Of course, without Face ID, you won’t be able to unlock the iPhone X with a simple face scan and by looking at iPhone, instead you will need to use a passcode. More on that in a moment.

Can you skip Face ID setup on iPhone X right away? Is Face ID Optional on iPhone X?

Yes. You can skip the entire Face ID facial scanning process during the initial device setup, and instead rely entirely on a passcode entry to unlock and use the iPhone X.

How do you unlock iPhone X without Face ID?

You can unlock iPhone X with a passcode like any other regular iPhone.

To unlock iPhone X without Face ID, simply pick up the iPhone X, raise to wake, tap the screen, or press the power button. Then swipe up from the bottom of the screen. This brings up the passcode screen where you enter a passcode to unlock the iPhone X.

This should be good news to those iPhone users who liked the old “swipe to unlock” gesture that used to exist before it was yanked from iOS, since iPhone X basically brings back swipe to unlock. Except, instead of swiping to the left, you swipe up from the bottom of the screen – the same gesture you use to return to the Home screen of iPhone X.

Wait, so if I don’t use Face ID then I get ‘Slide To Unlock’ back?!?

Yes, that is correct. By not using Face ID, you will regain a Slide to Unlock gesture on iPhone X. But the swipe to unlock gesture is a swipe up, rather than the old fashioned swipe-right.

Can I turn off Face ID after I have already enabled it?

Yes. Even if you initially setup Face ID, you can later disable it if you choose to.

You can either turn off Face ID completely, or you can temporarily disable Face ID on iPhone X with a variety of methods and tricks.

Can I change my mind later, and then enable Face ID later?

Yes, even if you initially skip setup, you can configure and enable Face ID at any time on iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR through the Settings app Face ID & Passcode settings options.

Can I still use Animoji if I don’t use Face ID on iPhone X?

Yes. You can still make and send Animoji on iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR without using Face ID elsewhere.

For the unfamiliar, Animoji uses the front facing camera to match your facial gestures with a little emoji-like onscreen character, via the Messages app. The result of Animoji is creating little short clips and recordings of your voice matched to a talking emoji character, like a talking poo emoji, a talking unicorn, bear, dog, cat, robot, etc.

What happens if I don’t use Face ID?

Aside from having no Face ID capabilities, not much. If you don’t use Face ID then you will lose access to a few nice Face ID features allows, including:

  • You won’t be able to quickly unlock the iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR by having it scan and recognize your face as you swipe up, instead you must swipe and then enter a passcode
  • You won’t be able to use face scanning to authenticate a payment, or Apple Pay purchase
  • You won’t be able to use Face ID at all if you don’t enable the feature and scan your face with Face ID (that may sound obvious, but it’s a question we have seen!)

Remember there is no Touch ID on iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR, as Face ID is the biometric security replacement. Basically if you don’t use Face ID then you will have to enter a passcode for authenticating, unlocking, confirming purchases, using Apple Pay and wallet, Apple Cash, downloading from iTunes and the App Store, and other features which require authentication.

Can someone else use my iPhone X even though Face ID is registered to my face?

Yes, if they have the passcode to unlock your iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR.

Or, assuming you do have Face ID enabled, if another person held your iPhone X up to your face while you are looking at the iPhone X, they could unlock it that way too since it would trigger Face ID and successfully scan you.

You can temporarily disable Face ID on iPhone X several different ways, however, so if you are concerned about someone scanning your face without your permissions in some theoretical scenario, then you may want to understand how to temporarily turn off the feature.

Is Face ID secure? Is it safe? Is my face recognition data kept private?

Many people who don’t like the idea of Face ID are, understandably, concerned about privacy and security implications. Who or what has access to your Face ID data? How is the facial recognition data secured?

Apple answer those questions and more at this “About Face ID technology” page on Apple.com. In terms of privacy:

Privacy is incredibly important to Apple. Face ID data – including mathematical representations of your face – is encrypted and protected by the Secure Enclave. This data will be refined and updated as you use Face ID to improve your experience, including when you successfully authenticate. Face ID will also update this data when it detects a close match but a passcode is subsequently entered to unlock the device.
Face ID data doesn’t leave your device and is never backed up to iCloud or anywhere else.

The concerns about Face ID are similar to those surfaced when Touch ID was released some years ago. Apple goes to great lengths to say that your personal biometric data is secured and won’t be shared with anyone, you’re welcome to read their detailed Face ID page here if you want to know more about how the technology works and how they protect your face data.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Security, Tips & Tricks

16 Comments

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  1. Ogles of Kansas says:

    I personally like Touch ID and wish it was on the new iPhone. I have a beard sometimes if I don’t shave and others I don’t, wear a high collar or scarf and hat when cold, glasses and sunglasses, ski mask in winter weather, hard to imagine the Face ID knowing it’s all me and working reliably.

    • Just Saying says:

      You don’t need to use Face ID to unlock an iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone XS Max, iPhone X, or iPad Pro.

      And nor should you use Face ID if you are concerned about invasions of personal privacy or infringement of your constitutional rights and civil liberties.

      https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/5984jq/cops-dont-look-iphonex-face-id-unlock-elcomsoft

      Face ID has allowed for a very simple mechanism for someone, anyone theoretically, to unlock your iPhone with full access to your private life by doing nothing but holding your own iPhone up to your own face. Who thinks that is a good idea? I don’t.

      Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution:

      “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

      https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment

      Is any of this a problem? Even if you don’t think it is a problem to worry about here at home, maybe you think the existence of a constitution will be sufficient to remedy your concerns, now imagine traveling overseas and having someone demand your iPhone, hold it up to your face, and then rummaging through your personal life before you are allowed to travel in or out of a country or region? These are massive invasions of privacy. And if you think that is far fetched, NEW ZEALAND of all countries is already forcing a version of this, give us your passwords or there will be a fine, device confiscation, and possibly more, is the new NZ standard of operation!

      https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/03/asia/new-zealand-customs-passwords-intl/index.html

      So now if you want privacy in say to and from New Zealand, one must backup your iPhone to iCloud, erase your iPhone, fly to New Zealand, give someone a temporary password to a phone with nothing on it, then restore from iCloud once you’re in the country, then backup again, erase again, etc. What a hassle, and an invasion of privacy!

  2. PanduanMac says:

    Until now, i like use passcode and Touch ID when unlock my iPhone.

  3. vdiv says:

    So perhaps Apple could have just released the iPhone 8 but with an OLED screen, calling it the iPhone 9 :)

  4. Darren says:

    What I’d prefer to see with face id is a little more quality of life usage with it.. for example I’d like to unlock the phone with a passcode but then in turn use face id to allow access to apps of my choice as a secondary security layer for instance on my banking app or social media apps etc – but also allowing me to alter this the opposite way too so face unlock but passcode for apps – is any of that possible at the moment?

  5. noneof yourbusiness says:

    Raise to wake is iffy at best and unstable on a good day. If I disable ‘raise to wake’ AND FaceID can I still access the phone ?

  6. Louis Freizer says:

    Can I have two people activate Face ID?
    I would like to allow a family relative to use iPhone 10 with Face ID.
    Is that possible?

  7. Brian Mill says:

    Can I use Face ID for opening all dirrerent apps and opening phone and use slide to answer for phone calls. Don’t like calls being answered automatically with me looking to see who’s calling. Sometimes a call needs discarded

  8. Ashish says:

    Hi,
    As we know that Face ID concept in iPhone X only, if I want to make iOS App using Facial Authentication for iPhone 5/6/6s/7. What should I do.

  9. Guywhoneedshelpfastplease says:

    Can i have face ID enabled and still use passcode? Please answer on reply because i Am not on my own device

  10. Amy says:

    I don’t want to use face id or a passcode. Is this possible with iphone x?

    • Paul says:

      Yes you can skip a passcode but it is not advised, it is always a good idea to set a passcode for your data protection. If you do not set a passcode on the iPhone, anyone can access it and any data on it – texts, messages, emails, account info, apps, everything – if they get the phone, either by accident, theft, loss, misplacement, mischief, prying or snooping, etc. So use your passcode!

  11. Luc Funicelli says:

    I would like to by the new iphone XR, i dont want to use face id and i never use a passcode on my phone. Is it possible to disable both and just slide up and your in?

    • tn says:

      Yes, you can disable Face ID and us swipe-to-unlock on iPhone XR and iPhone XS, and iPHone XS Max! It works the same as iPhone X.

      However you will need to set a passcode, even if you don’t use it on the lock screen. I would strongly recommend always passcode protecting your iPhone, if you lose it all of your personal data is accessible to anyone who finds it!

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